“An important biological species is at risk of disappearing due to the rapid and progressive elimination of its natural habitat: MAN” FC. “ Once in a while, not often, but occasionally, you have an opportunity to do what many have not. Join a NEEM Brigade and explore the real Cuba, you will not come home the same.” JAE (Go to P2P schedule link above).
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Is it legal to travel to Cuba?
NEEMs People-to-People license allows you to travel with us on our Environmental and Agroecological sustainability programs. The license is broad in scope including sustainable agriculture, agroecology, ecological, environment, Culinary, food security, sustainable urban and rural agriculture, permaculture etc. “Seed to Plate”™ “A Wandering Feast”™. With NEEM all you have to do is want to go.
2. What are NEEMs accommodations once there?
Travelers with NEEM are diverse and accommodations are often determined by the individual brigades itinerary. We stay at hotels where it is easy to exchange money and get transportation. We have some cool spots in town and announce per trip.
3. Can we arrange our own accommodations?
NO, it is illegal to make your own arrangements but also important to the group dynamic that everyone be together for scheduling and the camaraderie/support you will find with the group. The benefits are numerous, flexible and diverse.
4. Do we travel together?
8-15 NEEM delegates travel together in a bus with driver and interpreter/guide and NEEM representative. Groups led by NEEMs Founder, Dr. Funes or a founder in the movement in Cuba are announced in advance and cost more.
5.What does the cost include?
The stated cost of the trips includes pick up at airport, lodging, transportation, all breakfasts, lunches (M-F), one celebration dinner (split by delegates), one dinner with an ordinary Cuban Family (split), a guide, itinerary, scheduled itinerary and activity, air fare from Miami to Havana and back and transportation to the airport. It does not include air fare to Miami or hotel in Miami unless otherwise stated. A few midweek farm lunches are paid per delegate.
6. Are there activities after the day program?
There are not activities scheduled after the day program unless otherwise listed. We program a celebration dinner and a group dinner with an ordinary Cuban family which everyone always attends. Each delegate pays for their share of these cooperative dinners. If the NEEM leader announce something spontaneously; or a cultural event is listed, it would be a mistake not to make those but they are not required and optional.
7. Can I upgrade accommodations?
NO. This relates again to the group dynamic. You will be surprised at the positive group travel experience as a NEEM delegate. If a hotel is unsatisfactory we request an upgrade. The decision to move is the groups. We make other style arrangements for individual and small contracted groups.
8. What is delegation confirmation time line?
Plan ahead, payments are due 60-45 days and no later than 30 days before departure. The delegations require enough people to make them cost effective. Occasionally due to the myriad of factors regarding travel to Cuba we do not know until 3 weeks prior to the departure date of the planned delegation. If the trip is cancelled you may get a refund or, you may sign up for the next convenient delegation which most do if change occurs.
9. How much is air fare?
We provide air fare for Round Trip from Miami – Havana/Havana to Miami return. This is usually $499 w/visa, tax and varies. We include US Departure Taxes and Cuban Medical Insurance for the visa dates in Cuba. Special Visas are arranged and extra.
10. What do accommodations cost?
These prices vary hotel to hotel, itinerary to itinerary and change dependent on length of stay, single vs. double, hotel vs. organization etc. They are none the less calculated into the travel fee at final invoice based on hotel and all ground.
11. Will NEEM provides a knowledgeable representative through out the trip?
Yes. We actually pride ourselves on going the extra mile in providing a multilayered experience by having leaders of the movement or NEEMs Founder; or both. You are getting much more than just a trip to Cuba. You are led by professionals in the category of environment and sustainability from there and the U.S.
12. How much money should I plan for?
Plan on $75 – $100 per day and you will be in a comfort zone.
13. Can we bring cigars and rum back?
14. Will someone meet us?
YES. A NEEM representative will meet you in Miami or in Havana at the airports and this is announced.
15. What if we are coming from a long distance?
We recommend arrival and accommodations the day before departure for Havana in Miami near the airport with good ground transportation.
16. What about baggage?
Cuba charter flights allow 44 lbs. of checked luggage. Excess baggage fees vary but are around $1 or so a pound. Travel light, its easy, its Cuba and relaxed.
17. What about passport and Visa?
Your passport must be valid for 6 months plus prior to your Brigade or a visa will not be issued by Cuba. We provide the visa which is stamped. If you want your passport stamped, you have to ask – we always do as a historic souvenir.
18. What about exchange before departure?
We recommend EURO’s or U.S. dollars now. EURO is almost one to one and USD is a 10% fee (the additional 10% that was in place no longer applies) – exchange EURO’s at your bank prior to departure from home.
19. What about gratuities?
Tip for service is expected. End of trip gratuities are pooled by the Delegates for our 4 hosts. Your tip to those who served you during your time is dependent on the service and your call. We pool the tips in envelopes for presentation when appropriate.
20. What’s the food like?
Its great! Tropical meats and potato but with rice and beans. Cubans barely like black pepper let alone hot pepper so the food is somewhat spicy but not spicy hot. If Jeff is with your group, he has some dynamite spots that are off the radar and great food and prices. He is a Executive Chef.
21. Should I worry about the water?
YES. The infrastructure is shot. You invested in a trip to enjoy, use bottled water to brush your teeth and drink.
22. What if I fall ill?
The cost of your trip includes Cuban medical insurance for coverage in Cuba. For hospital visits you must bring your airplane ticket and visa as proof of insurance.
23. How safe is Cuba?
VERY. There is really no major crime in Cuba. You have to be street wise and travel smart. Havana, like any city has rough areas for instance. Perform due diligence and do some homework.
24. What about clothes?
Shorts and t-shirts for the day, slacks and shirts for the evenings. A good running or tennis shoe that works with everything is best.
25. How do I communicate to my home or business by phone?
Call from your hotel.
26. Will a laptop and cell phone work, should I bring them?
We don’t bring one, its a refreshing break not to have it. We bring a removable hard drive with everyone’s information on it and use the hotel or internet cafe. You can bring one though for data entry. Your cell phone will not work, other than direct data input.
27. What do you mean by PLANT and FIGHT?
Plant and Fight Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), early on-set diabetes, obesity, poor nutrition, food in-security, social injustice, socioeconomic barriers, for sustainable economies and community, to break the fast or prepared food chain, to bring families together and break bread, and to unite the community in which we reside.